A new exhibition celebrating 750 years of music at Hereford Cathedral has recently opened and runs until Saturday, September 8. ‘Sounds Divine’ is presented by the cathedral’s library and archives in the Mappa Mundi exhibition. It features artefacts and documents which explore the lives and work of the people who have helped to fill the cathedral with wonderful music, including original manuscripts of works by Sir Edward Elgar, Samuel Sebastian Wesley and Dame Ethel Smyth.

The Hereford Breviary, a unique medieval manuscript which records how the daily round of services was sung at the cathedral in the Middle Ages, will form a key part of the exhibition, and another early treasure of the collection to be included is a 15th-century illustrated copy of Aesop’s Fables from the library of the College of Vicars Choral, with drawings and doodles added by choirboys over the centuries. Exhibits dating from the 16th century include records from the cathedral’s Act Books of the appointment as chorister in 1573, organist in 1582 and master of the choristers in 1583 of the composer John Bull, who went on to become a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (where he had also spent some years as a chorister) and in 1596 became the first professor of music at Gresham College, on the recommendation of Queen Elizabeth.

Musical scores on display include the Organ Concerto in A major Op. 1 No 3 by William Felton, a vicar choral at the cathedral 1741-1769, and memorabilia relating to Sir Edward Elgar, who lived in Hereford for several years and was associated with the cathedral for most of his life through his links with the Three Choirs Festival, includes an autograph score of a short work called ‘Christmas Greeting’ and the Visitors’ Book of Elgar’s close friend George Robertson Sinclair, cathedral organist from 1889 until his death in 1917, in which Elgar wrote musical autographs depicting the moods of Sinclair’s bulldog Dan.

Sounds Divine also features photographs and artefacts relating to the cathedral organ, bells and bell-ringers.

The exhibition is open until September 8, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.